Ken Carman, naturalist from Roxbury Park, Hollywood SC, demonstrates how he harvests wild duckweed using a simple pitchfork. He only harvests duckweed on windy days when the lemna bunches up to more than three inches deep. He estimates that he has harvested over twenty tons of duckweed this way over the past two years. What does he use it for? Compost and chicken feed. Visit http://www.RoxburyPark.org for some the best photos of wildlife you’lll see in the region.
Am traveling this week on a duckweed bioprospecting hunt. In addition to collecting lots of cool duckweed strains, look forward to visiting fellow duckweed friends and associates from the South Carolina coastal regions northward to New Jersey. Am kicking off the week with a visit to Ken and Brenda Carman and take a tour of the new Roxbury Park in South Charleston County, SC where Ken is caretaker/naturalist.Ken is the duckweed affectionado that discovered lemna growing underground after being buried for 15 months in a mulch pile. I hope to get a sample of the strain.
Drove 700 miles yesterday after an informative training session for Toastmaster governors in Indianapolis, IN. Love my new TM friends! Such go-getters.
I knew I needed to give it up for the night when the thought of curling up in my backseat in the parking lot of a truck stop started looking real appealing. I drove on another twenty miles though and found a room at 2:00am. Those truck driver days are over.
Last weekend, a television crew lead by Mychaela Bruner from News Channel Six in Paducah, KY came out to do a second story on my duckweed developments. Here is the link to the video. I am very thankful for the interest and support by News Channel Six, my local community and state leaders.
If you guessed Wolffia, you’d be right! You’d win big at Jeopardy but sorry, there is no payoff from my blog site. On the bright side, you’d be in an elite but growing circle of duckweed folks “in the know” and now have the potential for looking pretty smart in biology class. Yes, Wolffia is the world’s smallest flowering plant. You’d have to line up 40 of the little green potato-like buggers end-to-end to make an inch. They flower and produce seeds but well… it’s a rare occurence and even I have not gotten to witness the holy event. They reproduce mainly by budding and reproduce like crazy when awash in fresh water containing ample nutrients. Wolffia is the fastest growing plant on the planet, doubling in weight every 24-48 hours, and up to 50% dry weight of the closest thing to animal protein that Nature can offer. Here is a shot of a couple of species that I am currently growing. Tastes like lettuce, cabbage, and a hint of spinach. Disclaimer: Even though folks in South Asia eat it routinely, don’t go around eating wild-harvested Wolffia as our immune systems are simply not up to snuff.
Our ILA Round Table workshop was recorded today with Dr. Louis Landesman acting as leading expert on fertilization tips for duckweed production. It’s an hour long but one of the best hours you could spend if you were really interested in growing duckweed for urban farming or commercial purposes.
Thanks, Louis. Wonderful job!
A sunny window and spring green loveliness of happy duckweed make up for the damp chill of March. This duckweed was grown primarily on aquarium water from my goldfish with a bit of trace pond muck for micronutrients. It is doubling every three days at present. Another month and sunlight intensity will move that growth rate up to nearly a doubling every one and a half days.
Photo taken by my good friend, Linda King.
For the verbal post, you can click here. Am waiting for the video link. The interview went well, although Yaught’s battery started dying in the middle of showing how cool a solar-powered boat was in a duckweed pond and claiming that it always had plenty of power all summer long. When I tried to hand-tighten the battery post connections, I got my fingers royally burned. Murphy’s Law in action keeps me humble.